Monday, December 3, 2007

Gee, What a Great Idea, Say No to Sexism!

This is one of those rare articles that made me want to bang my head against my keyboard - multiple times. "Feminist Pitch by a Democrat Named Obama" is so many things - condescending and sexist are the first two words that come to mind. The irony is that the article and many quotes managed to insult me and pander to gender stereotypes while writing about feminism and "women's issues", whatever those are supposed to be. Writer Robin Toner acts as if she is the first person to make the breakthrough discovery that hey, maybe it's not the best idea for feminists to automatically vote for female candidates. Gasp! Amazing! So Robin, you mean that we should research candidates and vote for the one who we think will do the best job, regardless of gender? Wow! How revolutionary!

Frankly I'm insulted that anyone would assume that I, or any woman, would blindly vote for a female candidate based only on her gender. Unfortunately, as the article shows, there were at least four women, all of whom happend to be intereviewed for this article, that did previously think that their duty as feminists included automatically voting for the female Presidential candidate. I guess it's too much to hope for that these four women are the only women in the US who would make such an important decision based on gender alone.

This does make me want to scream. Then I think, is it really that much of a stretch? I'm sure that there are people out there of all races and ethnic groups that would be tempted to vote for a candidate based solely on race. But I still think that's stupid. I never felt an obligation to support Alberto Gonzalez because we're both Hispanic.

But then the quotes from the women interviewed just add insult to injury. “I finally went with my heart. I like his leadership style.” said State Rep. Janet Peterson of Iowa. Great. I can hear the naysayers now: "Just like a woman, she makes all decisions with her heart, based on her feeeeeelings."

Author Alice Walker's description of Obama as “someone who honors the feminine values of caring for all.” made me gag. "feminine values"? I wasn't aware that Alice Walker was put in charge of defining universally accepted "feminine values". And then to say that "caring for all" was a "feminine value"? AHHHHHHHHHHHHH! What, men are only supposed to care about "some"? Way to reinforce the stereotype of women as mothers Alice, thanks so much. Gee, we're so caring, we care for everyone, unlike men...WTF??? Far be it from a women to make a decision based on facts or logic...let's consult our warm fuzzy list of Feminine Values and see which decision makes my uterus the happiest.

And it doesn't stop there. Obama's campaign COO, Betsy Myers, says “His message is about listening, bringing people together, the skills women appreciate,". Again with the warm fuzzy feel good pop psychology about "what women want". Gee, why do I get the feeling that she just finished reading "Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus"? After such overt and unabashed pandering to women voters, I'm surprised Obama hasn't started supplying free massages, mani-pedis and martinis at his speeches and town hall meetings.

I think my favorite paragraph was:
Bonnie Campbell, a former Iowa attorney general and Justice Department official, said she took Mrs. Clinton to her church last week and was struck by how many women came up to her saying: “I’m so proud of you. You couldn’t possibly know what it means to see someone like you running.”

"Someone like you"? What does that mean, someone with a vagina? That as long as she meets that requirement she has your vote?

The whole thing makes me sick. How many gender stereotypes jumped out of this article and smacked you in the face? For crying out loud, we're all PEOPLE. I know plenty of women whose political views frighten me and whose views on equality and reproductive freedom scare me and make me wonder if they traveled to modern day America via a time machine. If they ran for President and there was a male candidate whose views I was more in agreement with overall, how ridiculous would it be for me to vote for the female candidate because she's a woman? And to the women who are supporting Hillary Clinton based on her gender alone, what kind of message does that send? That it doesn't matter which woman is elected, one's as good as another?

Personally I never did a happy dance after hearing that Hillary Clinton was running for President, even though I'm a woman and a feminist. Of course, as anyone who has done any research or reading about feminism knows, there is no one school of thought that All Feminists Believe, any more that than there is one school of thought that All Men Believe or All Minorities Believe. But I never had a tearfully happy Kodak moment after seeing Sister Hillary at the podium, speaking for All Women. I don't know, I guess I don't think it's an automatic win for women everywhere. I could write an entirely separate post about how I think many things about Hillary Clinton are not exactly feminist (staying with a husband that everyone knows has cheated on you multpile times, anyone?), but she's playing the game, and playing it without repeatedly pointing out the fact that she is female, which I have to give her credit for.

In the end, all politicians are whores for registered voters, and will do whatever they need to do to win as much support as possible. It's just a shame that deciding who to vote for comes down to choosing the lesser of two evils.


Michelle L. said...

Yeah, you didn't know that Alice Walker was the arbiter of all things feminist?

I agree with every word, I HATE shit like that article. I always feel like I have been patted on my little feminist head and sent on my merry way when I read things like that.

Childfree Chick said...

I consider myself a feminist and I'm also Black so the issue of Obama vs. Clinton is a toss up for me.

I actually think I like John Edwards the best out of all the democratic candidates.

Hmmm...I am a big ole trader to women and Blacks everywhere for this train of thought...LMAO!


Voting should be based on POLITICS. I am so over these shallow notions that you should vote for the candidate who has genitalia that matches yours or a similar skin tone.

Oh and let's not forget voting for some dumbass just because you'd like to "have a beer with him" and you support his attempts to pass every constitutional amendment under the sun to keep boys from kissing and getting married...GOOD GAWD why is voting not based on policy views anymore?

Why aren't people voting for candidates based on their plans for issues that affect their own lives?

It's nuts to me that poor rednecks love Dubbya cause he reads the bible and hates abortion and gays yet none of his social policies are benefiting them economically, they're losing their factory jobs left and right, and their kids are being killed in his war...

What a bunch of dumbasses people are.

Um did I just blog in your comments?



Cool blog.